£1m Wolverhampton sculpture taken from public view

It’s a £1m jewel in the Mander Centre crown, a piece of artwork admired by thousands of people every week, but a popular sculpture in Wolverhampton's shopping centre has disappeared from public view.

The Rock Form sculpture
The Rock Form sculpture. Picture courtesy of John Maddan

Rock Form, by Barbara Hepworth, has been in the centre since it opened in 1968 and is one of just six of its kind in the country.

In recent weeks the piece has been taken away from its usual home on the ground floor of the centre.

Bosses said they have been advised by insurers that the piece be removed and stored away from the centre, ahead of its multi-million pound redevelopment.

However ‘no decision’ has been made regarding its future.

The centre's £30m redevelopment was given the go-ahead by planning chiefs earlier this week. The redevelopment, which includes the creation of a new Debenhams store, was unanimously backed by councillors at a meeting.

Mander Centre manager Nicholas Pitt said of the sculpture: "The majority of the redevelopment will take place on the lower level, where the Barbara Hepworth sculpture was located.

"As such, the current landlords were advised by insurers that this valuable piece be removed and stored securely off-site.

"No further decisions have been made concerning the Barbara Hepworth sculpture, which in my view is a particularly beautiful piece."

The bronze 9ft sculpture contains within its square base a time capsule containing items donating by Wolverhampton children and traders.

It was last removed in 2002 - and refurbished - when the centre was given an £18m revamp.

The Mander Centre is currently up for sale with a price tag of £50m but bosses insist this will not impact on the redevelopment.

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Comments for: "£1m Wolverhampton sculpture taken from public view"

funny old world

Probably auctioning it off to pay for the £54k spin doctor.


Eh? A private company that is not part of the council? That would be a bit weird, wouldn't it?


Ha ha I've always thought it was an eyesore, shows how much I know, is there any coincidence they the shopping centre has been sold and it has vanished?, wonder if the new owners get to keep it, I bet it's on eBay by next week.

The Voice of Reason

What's that thing supposed to be?

I too

FOW - the current landlords whoever they are have been advised to move it and store it.

Does not say Wton City Council.

So yah boo to FOW for misreading article yet again

Oh by the way FOW etc tory noddies South Staffs College are losing jobs that according to their VC is due to Govt CUTS!!!! Not Labour mismanagement.

If it is owned by WCC then they wil be paying the insurance too not selling it for any silly billy job. And If FOW is a WCC council tax payer ( of max doubt) then the cost is partially born by FOW. Well done FOW

Dave W.

Its an eyesore , a 5 year old child could do better.


I hope they put the real one back and not a fibre glass copy out of reach of the public.


What does this statue actually signify, can anyone enlighten me? It always gave me the feeling that it was a raw material that was left over when they built the Mander Centre, and some bright spark decide to mount it on a plinth in the name of art. We need to repace this thing with something that reflects the culture of Wolverhampton, something that celebrates the large ethnic groups that have adopted Wolverhampton has their home. May be we should somehow invite Wolverhampton resident's to contribute by providing possible idea's for something that could possibly replace this statue.


I think I miht have an answer! This statue appears solid however it's got holes going through it, it reminds me of an organisation based at the civic centre.


It's been in the Mander Centre a long time. To my mind it's dated now. Perhaps it's time to pension it off and put it in the Art Gallery.


It's a lump of rock with holes in it and it's worth a million? Good lord my garden she'd has a small hole in the side wonder what that's worth.

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